Ngannou’s Coach Blasts Leg Locking as an Ineffective Strategy in MMA

Erick Nicksick, the Headcoach of Xtreme Couture doesn’t believe in leglocks.

Well, not really, but specifically, when it comes to an MMA fight, Erick thinks it’s inadvisable to go for a leg lock attempt.

Leglocks in MMA became a hot topic this week. In the main event fight of UFC 270 Heavyweights Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane fought for the UFC title.

Francis edged out the win in the fight , however, heading into the fifth round, the fight seemed to have been tied on the scorecards.

At around the 4 minute mark in the fifth round, Gane scored a single leg takedown.

However, after around a minute of top control, Gane gave up the top position when he attempted a heel hook entry:

In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Ngannou’s coach Erick Nicksick had this to say about Ciryl Gane’s leg lock attempt:

“Once he went for the leg, I just thought it was kind of a fatal flaw. I have guys in the gym that love to go for leg locks in practice and get the tap. And I tell them all the time look, that’s not going to happen in a fight. Most guys won’t tap to that s***. You guys are getting a false sense of reality when you think these leg locks work over and over and over.
In a fight guys will let their knees pop, they don’t care, half their paychecks are on the line. So don’t feel like that’s a thing to go for unless there are like 30 seconds left in the round.“

Nicksick then added: “So when I saw him go back for that leg I’m like ‘oh dude, you just did us a favor man’.

The heavyweight champion was also featured in Ariel Helwani’s show, and when asked about the same topic, Ngannou shared similar thoughts about Gane’s leg lock attempt:

“That was pretty good for me [the leg lock] because he was on my good leg. I was also tired too, so I was kind of trying to use the position, and when he got that leg lock, he didn’t have it. I was just making sure that he doesn’t lock my hips and as soon as my hips are not locked, he couldn’t get my knee or get a knee lock or something. He was squeezing and I’m like, ‘Good, keep going, this is how you lose energy.’ I was very relaxed. It’s gonna get him more tired, it’s gonna get me more positions, he’s gonna lose hope. Basically, when you have something like that, you think you have something and then you finally lose it, you’re like, ‘Damn, f***, what the hell is this and that was exactly the same thing. I was very happy at that moment.”

Leg lock effectiveness in MMA has been a hot topic before, heel hooks are among the most present submissions in any no-gi grappling tournament today, but not seen nearly as much in professional MMA.

The usually loud-mouthed and former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen has, in the past, also shared his thoughts about leg locks in MMA.

In Chael Sonnen’s view, instead of playing with leg entanglements during leg lock attempts, the fighter should just secure the top position and ground and pound his opponent.

These are all fair points, but, at the same time, it’s pretty hard to say leg locks don’t work in MMA when you take a look at the careers of fighters like Shynia Aoki, Rousimar Palhares, and Ryan Hall?

It was undoubtedly inadvisable for Ciryl Gane to go for that leg in that moment of the fight, but perhaps that also has to do with the fact that Gane is not a specialist in that move like a guy like Ryan Hall is? No one in their right mind would say that it is “inadvisable” for Ryan Hall to drop for a leg.